02 Nov

"All in good time, my little pretty. All in good time." ― The Wicked Witch of the West (The Wizard of Oz, 1939)

As I was searching for a quote to summarize what I wanted to write about in this newsletter, I kept coming back to this phrase: “All in good time.” So I figured, what’s wrong with quoting the Wicked Witch of the West? After all, sometimes villains are correct. 
I am a firm believer that often the very thing we need in our lives comes to us at just the right time. We meet the right people, who give us the right advice, at just the right moment in our lives when we can understand and act on that good counsel. Maybe I’m just a “glass half full” kind of gal, but it seems to have been the theme of my life so far.
When I first started writing “seriously” with a goal of publishing, I remember having to go to Atlanta to attend a dinner event for my law firm. I struck up a conversation with the attorney seated next to me, and the subject of what we like to do in our spare time came up. I, of course, told him I liked to write and hoped to publish one of my stories someday. As it turned out, his wife had just published a novel, and he offered to have her talk to me about her experience and give me advice. I took him up on his offer, and a couple of weeks later his wife and I spoke on the phone. She told me about an annual conference hosted by the Georgia Romance Writers in Atlanta and how much she learned at the conference. After taking some time to deliberate (and convince my sister-in-law to come with me), I signed up to go.
It was the Moonlight & Magnolias conference, or M&M for short, and it was amazing. Not only was I surrounded by people who heard voices in their heads and spent their free time concocting romantic scenarios for those voices, but I also learned a lot about the actual craft of writing. Goal, motivation, conflict. Character arcs. Pacing. Dialogue. All the things that take a decent plot and turn it into something incredibly easy and satisfying to read.
That conference led to a turning point in my writing, when I entered a raffle and won a critique from a New York Times bestselling author. Although the prize was supposed to be a critique of the first 50 pages of my manuscript, this lovely author ended up giving me substantive feedback on 100 pages of my work-in-progress and spent over two hours on the phone talking me through her comments and giving me feedback. The manuscript she critiqued was Soothsayer, which ended up being the first book I published. And I never could have done it without her.
I have only missed one M&M conference since that first one in 2016. It’s an event I look forward to every year. I’ve met so many people through the conference—bestselling authors, new authors, agents, editors, romance enthusiasts, even other lawyers whose favorite pastime is writing romance novels, like me. I’ve learned a lot since that first conference, too. I’m more confident, possibly a little less idealistic, but also a lot more appreciative of what making it in the writing business entails. 
In the end, there are no overnight successes or “easy wins.” Everything takes time, but if it’s something you love you’ll spend the time it takes. At some point, though, you’ll also need to have a little faith. Because it’s faith that you’re on the right path, even when you can’t see your next step, that allows you to keep going until the time is right for that next right thing to happen for you.

* The email will not be published on the website.